Last week I found this article in a copy of Adbusters in the shared bathroom next to my studio.
I don't know how I feel about social networking yet. It's too early. If my evaluation were based on what's happening today, I'd agree with much of the assessment of the writer above. It's often self-absorbed, a time-waste, and in the end may foster more social loneliness than connection.
But it's early. The electric guitar was created in the 1930s, years before Hendrix or Jimmy Page or Sid Vicious were born.
Who knows what we'll end up doing with our new abilities to instantly share and connect. It's not far-fetched to imagine all of us with our iPhone-like devices, walking into any social setting, from party to church to classroom to sporting event to concert, and being able to opt-in to the thought stream in the room. It reminds me the idea behind David Bohm's Dialogue - a tool for a group to understand itself better.
More time clicky-clicking is not appealing to me. I'll stick with Jacques and Postman and Mander: screentime is not real time, but our new communication tools have delivered enhanced real time experiences. Rare, but it's happened. I think it happens when you unite digital tools + real life experiences + some sort of shared purpose.
My brother Ted told me about the pastor of his church who wrote and shared one of those "25 Things About Me" things on Facebook. It was candid and appropriately revealing. Suddenly his parishioners knew things about him that could only deepen their understanding, and maybe increase their connection to him and even enhance their experience as a parishioner. To me, that's nice. It points to the potential ways that technology can support our efforts to connect, understand each other, become whole.